The Chinese government helped migrant workers retrieve more than 33 billion yuan (US$3.99 billion) of back pay by the end of March, said Hu Xiaoyi, spokesman with the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, on Thursday.
The amount accounts for 99 percent of the total officially recorded owed payment before 2003, said Hu at a press conference.
A special campaign running Dec. 1 of last year to January had been launched to survey the defaulted payment. According to statistics, the effort helped more than 10 million rural laborers working in 20 provinces and municipalities regain more than 2 billion yuan (US$242 million) of delayed payment.
The ministry also revoked discriminatory policies restraining farmers from looking for work in urban areas and cut off all the "unreasonable charges" on them for seeking jobs after this Spring Festival, when rural workers swarmed back to cities from homes, Hu said.
"Most of the labor and social security departments all over the country did survey on the enterprise demands, opened available job posts to migrant rural workers timely, and guided them to legal intermediary agencies to seek jobs during that period," Hu said.
The ministry, together with other departments including public security, commerce and industries, also launched a special campaign to put the labor market in order. The government closed down 3,440 illicit job intermediary agencies and ordered 1.7 million yuan (US$205,562) of refund and compensation for cheated job seekers.
"All these measures have helped improve the employment environment for migrant rural workers," Hu said.
(Xinhua News Agency April 22, 2005)